Bitcoin Foundation Sets Record Straight on New UK Office

The Bitcoin Foundation discussed its newest London office, which became an unlikely magnet for controversy on Sunday.

AccessTimeIconMar 4, 2014 at 2:46 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. UTC
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Though many in the bitcoin community were eager to distance the industry from the spectre of Mt. Gox heading into March, the failure of what was once a leading player in the market has lead high levels of uncertainty to remain.

As evidence, despite Sunday's news that the UK would formally exempt its bitcoin traders from a 20% tax, what attracted the most attention from reports was not the progressive move by the local government.

Rather, the focal point for many was a statement related to the Bitcoin Foundation's opening of a new UK office.

The controversy centered around comments from Bitcoin Foundation executive director Jon Matonis featured by The Financial Times, which suggested the organisation would redomicile from the US to the UK this spring. While a seemingly small detail, this was news many members said they were hearing for the first time.

Jinyoung Lee Englund, the organisation's director of public affairs, told CoinDesk, however, that the news was not new, and that despite some confusion, this doesn't represent any changes in the foundation's plans.

"Bitcoin is a global protocol and to better represent our international community, we made the decision to open a UK office last December."

In fact, the news was first reported on 12th December, though the news may have been overshadowed by the tandem announcement of new international chapters in Canada and Australia.

Community reaction

News about the Bitcoin Foundation's move traveled fast on Sunday, with some members taking to the organisation's official message boards to suggest that communication between the organisation and the community may need improvement.

The result was that foundation informed community members on various platforms of the announcement, providing a link to the original press release that stated the vision for its new office as well as how it would play a role in the organisation's long-term strategy.

Global focus requires London office

Statements from the Bitcoin Foundation indicate that the new office is meant to be a sign of the organisation's status as a global entity. For example, Seattle, while the best location for local resident and founder Peter Vessenes to create the organisation, may now be ill-equipped for the foundation and its increasing reach, past statements suggest.

Explained Matonis in the original release:

"Strengthening and equipping local Bitcoin communities worldwide is at the core of the foundation's International Affiliate Program and a priority for 2014.

London is one of the most international cities in the world and the foundation will be best positioned to represent and support the inherently global Bitcoin community from there."

The Bitcoin Foundation said at the time that it planned to keep its US office in Washington, DC to "focus on US individual and corporate membership, public policy and public relations". The international office in London will supervise and support new chapters.

Image credit: London office buildings via Shutterstock

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